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A decade of rapid growth at US credit unions

Balance-sheet growth at U.S. credit unions last decade was significantly higher than that of their bank competitors.

Total assets at credit unions crossed the $1 trillion level in 2012, ending the decade at $1.585 trillion. The 10-year growth rate was 76.7%, outpacing the 42.4% increase for banks and thrifts.

Navy FCU, by far the nation's largest credit union in terms of assets, cleared the $100 billion hurdle in the first quarter of 2019. Its asset growth rate from 2009 to 2019 was 183%, less than its 202% growth in shares and deposits but higher than its 162% increase in loans and leases.

The growth difference between the industries was more pronounced in loans and leases. The credit union industry compiled a 93.0% growth rate last decade, versus 44.5% for banks and thrifts. The closed-end, first-lien one-to four-family loan type was an even starker contrast, with credit unions showing 114% growth and the banking sector up by just 24.5%.

Among the 20 largest credit unions by assets, First Technology FCU was No. 1 for 10-year growth in loans and leases at 449%. Part of the growth stems from a merger of equals that was completed in 2011.

From 2009 to 2019, credit unions more than doubled their total equity and expanded shares and deposits by 74.9%.

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